Opa! Layers of Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini, & Toasted Savoury Béchamel – Greek Moussaka at Loui’s Kouzina

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I’m so excited to finally write and post about Greek food on the blog!  I love Greek food and it’s a shame that these are the only photos I have to share with you all right now as I’ve been eating delicious Greek meals for years.  Greek food and I go waaaay back.  It holds a very special place in my heart, as well as my mom’s.  After immigrating to Canada, my mom grew up in Toronto’s east end and went to school right near the Danforth.  You all know what that means: Greek town!  Many of my mom’s best and closest friends were Greek and her friends’ parents would invite my mom over to their houses for dinner all the time.  This love was passed along to me when I was born – in the east end – and I’m reminded of all those times growing up where Greek food was one of the only things my whole family could agree on eating when we wanted to have a nice meal out. 

Having recently eaten this delicious meal at Loui’s Kouzina in Markham, I was overcome with a wave of nostalgia and it brought back a flood of memories.  It wasn’t until this meal that I realized just how much I missed having it in my life and having it so thoroughly integrated in my zone of comfort.  I may love sushi like nobody’s business.  I may love trying new things and making foodie discoveries.  But sometimes there’s nothing that can compare to the feeling of comfort you get from the food that has created roots in your memory and in your heart.

I have my best friend to thank for this meal 😀  After raving about Loui’s Kouzina on a number of occasions, I knew I had to go when my family asked me where we should go for dinner.  It’s nice when people designate you as meal outing and food decider, isn’t it?  Anyway, my best friend told me how much she loved the food here and given how my tummy was missing Greek food, it was the perfect idea.  

I’m so glad we went.  My brother and I tried out a dish we had never had before in our life and we LOVED it!  We both ordered the Greek moussaka and we scarfed it down because it was so delicious.  Total win!  Like I was gushing about yesterday about my stuffed peppers at The Grad Lounge, I love seeing menu items that are different from the norm.  Everyone knows you can get great Greek souvlaki, but moussaka?  Hello, never had it before.  Which just makes me want it more.  A dinner that was delicious and savoury, and a new dish to add to my growing vocabulary of food.  It doesn’t get much better than that.   

Moussaka is both a  Middle Eastern and Eastern European dish common in the Balkan and Mediterranean regions of Europe including Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, and Turkey among others.  Although different regions make moussaka dishes in a number of different ways, Greek moussaka is characterized by layers of grilled vegetables, potatoes, minced meat, and a top layer of savoury baked béchamel sauce or egg custard.  The moussaka at Loui’s Kouzina was a soft, melt-in-your-mouth layered masterpiece with ground beef and grilled eggplant and zucchini sandwiched between a base of roast potatoes and a silky savoury toasted béchamel topping.  This was AMAZING.  It was like eating a heavy-duty layered lasagna only without the cheese and with potatoes, eggplant, and zucchini and a very pillowy soft dome on top.

This was such a savoury dish and the custard/pudding-like top was something that I had never encountered before in my life.  It had the texture of very soft silken tofu and it was very easy to cut through.  The dome of béchamel was wonderfully toasted and it was exactly like eating a Chinese egg tart only savoury as opposed to sweet.  And the flavours worked together.  Given how the dish was a layered one, it could have easily missed its mark with the ingredients just kind of laying there with no cohesiveness to it.  But everything worked amazingly.  The grilled vegetables weren’t mushy, the ground beef wasn’t over seasoned, and everything melded together.  It’s definitely a dish I can envision myself coming back for again and again.  YUM! 

Oh!  And the Greek salad.  Thumbs up.  I mean, sure, it was nothing that I hadn’t seen before.  Greek salad is very standard: iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onion, olives, feta cheese, and a bit of dressing.  The salad was great though.  The lettuce was so crunchy and fresh and it wasn’t overladen with dressing or soggy from the juice of the tomatoes.

Loui’s Kouzina is a wonderful, casual Greek restaurant that serves up a number of gyros, pork, and chicken souvlaki dishes, appetizers, savory phyllo pastries, salads, pastas, pita sandwiches, and Greek spanakopita pies among other things.  I saw (and tasted!) what my best friend saw and the quality of food is just fabulous.  Prices for dinner mains sit around the $10-$15 range and for those who may not want a full dinner or who want something a little less expensive, there are a number of menu items closer to the front of the menu that you can put together and mix and match for a less expensive meal.  For example, you can order individual souvlaki skewers along with other sides for a few dollars apiece.  Loui’s Kouzina is a great Greek eatery that I would recommend to anyone and truly a gem in Markham.  I thank my best friend for the rec, and my tummy and heart thank me for the love and comfort.  And the memories.

*****

Loui’s Kouzina is located in Markham at 9255 Woodine Ave. at the intersection of Woodbine and 16th Ave.  The restaurant is situated within the strip mall complex closer to the west side of the complex and parking lot (if I remember correctly, it’s right beside the Pizza Pizza).           

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